The president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Stephen Laskowski, is raising alarm bells over the acute shortage of truck drivers in Canada and its negative implications for the supply chain.

“There is an old saying in our sector you may be familiar with, which goes back decades – if you got it a truck brought it,” said Laskowski, “But, the truth is that during the pandemic – and even still today – there are people who didn’t ‘get’ what they need or when they needed it.”

Speaking to the House Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Lawskowski stressed the importance of dealing with the truck driver shortage as a means of easing inflation and solving the supply chain crisis.

“The truck driver has always been one of the most critical, but unsung, contributors, to our national economy. Without drivers, trucks sit idle,” he said, noting that Canada is short nearly 30,000 commercial truck drivers.

“This chain reaction and the associated consequences will also inevitably flow through to the companies relying on the delivery, be it raw materials, manufacturing inputs, or finished products destined for store shelves. With little ability to replace this lost capacity through adding labour, things will only get tighter for the foreseeable future.”

Laskowski presented several solutions that could help ease the current supply chain crisis from a trucking perspective: improving access to immigration and training funding for drivers, and fixing the Driver Inc. scheme, which the CTA alleges is being used by some unscrupulous companies to take advantage of drivers.

Back in spring of 2022, a Nanos Research poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Trucking Alliance revealed that almost 100% of the trucking executives interviewed felt that driver shortage was the biggest threat to the trucking industry and Canadian economy. The respondents also cited lack of access to equipment and parts.

“As the government of Canada looks to address the supply chain crisis, we remind this committee that addressing the truck driver shortage effectively assists all sectors of the economy in dealing with the disruptions and logistical stresses many businesses are experiencing and the disastrous impacts of inflation,” Laskowski concluded.

You can read the summary of the Nanos Research Poll here.

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